How Street-Style Photographer Christina Fragkou Gets It Done During Fashion Week

Illustration: Samantha Hahn

For this particular Fashion Week version of “How I Get It Done,” we’re asking profitable ladies about managing their careers and lives throughout this hectic time of yr.

Christina Fragkou has been documenting fashion week for over eight years. As a contract street-style and fashion photographer, it’s simply her busiest season as she travels from city to city to seize content for the largest fashion brands and magazines around the globe (including the Cut!).

A seasoned photographer, she has worked for manufacturers like Dior, Rick Owens, JW Anderson, Balenciaga, Acne Studios, Chanel, Schiaparelli, Loewe, Gabriela Hearst, and Prada. When she’s not working shows, she’s capturing street fashion for publications together with The Cut, Vogue, DAZED, Hypebeast, and more. She has captured iconic moments like Karl Lagerfeld’s final show for Chanel, the late Queen of England arriving for London Fashion Week in February 2018, and Virgil Abloh, Bella Hadid, and Hailey Bieber backstage at Off-White in 2017. 

Born in Greece and raised in South Africa, Fragkou (who makes use of she/they pronouns) graduated from faculty in 2012. While she wasn’t initially certain what sort of photography she needed to give attention to, she determined to apply to the Condé Nast College of Fashion & Design in London. It wasn’t until working an internship at TANK Magazine, the place she shot a combination of documentary and style collectively, that it clicked: That was what she liked to shoot. She shot her first fashion week in London in 2015, and this season marked her first New York Fashion Week back since the pandemic. This is how she will get it accomplished. 

On a mean day during trend week: 
I go to mattress around 2:30 a.m. and get up round 7:30. As I get extra tired, I find that I even have to make myself wake up somewhat bit earlier, because it just takes me that much longer within the morning. I can’t simply rise up and get out. I’m a morning shower-er and all the time have a decaf espresso on the best way: oat-milk flat white, even when I’m late. During the day, I’m carrying a shitload on me. I’ve obtained my digicam, my phone, and my laptop computer. I’ve got two lenses as a outcome of I’m capturing backstage and street style. I’ll be on the street till sundown shooting street fashion. On common, I’ll shoot in all probability two or three exhibits a day backstage after which I’ll also shoot avenue style between four and 5 different shows. I try to say no to any late-night reveals except it’s for a client that I’ve worked with for a long run and it’s a present that I’m going to get pleasure from, or if it’s for big bucks. While I usually walk from show to show or take public transportation, when it’s late at night, I take an Uber house. I’m not getting on a tube or the metro no matter what, not because of security, simply because I’m tired. And then I wish to sit on my phone for 20 minutes and feel like a human before I’m modifying for the night.

On how she finds work: 
When I first started, I sent out so many emails. I nonetheless send out fairly a couple of emails, but it’s the basic story that you hear of a snowball impact. I got one small job from a girl that saw me posting that I went to uni with, that was working at a small journal. I tried to get into Refinery29, however they didn’t write back and then the subsequent season they reached out to me. A lot of it has to do with picture editors too. It’s their job to supply photographers and I’m lucky enough to have been doing this for long sufficient now and worked with such a wide range of publications, that when individuals are on the lookout for photographers, especially around Fashion Week, I’m on their radar.

On what keeps her going: 
I dance my heart out. If my headphones aren’t in and the music isn’t pumping, I’m asleep, I’m crying, or I’m shouting at individuals. I at all times begin with a little little bit of Florence + the Machine. There’s all the time “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield. Then, there’s plenty of ’90s R&B and plenty of ’70s dad gems and ’80s pop. Oh, and slightly bit of Justin Bieber. I need to maintain the vibe up and it actually does carry me through as a outcome of my body’s transferring. I discover that if I keep transferring, I can stay up.

On the group of photographers that she works with:
We have slightly family that travels collectively. It’s a wild factor to see your friend on the road and be like, “Hey, see you tomorrow” and you understand it’s gonna be in a special country. I’ve calculated this: I spend more days with them a 12 months than I do with my household. We know each other’s personalities. You can see when someone’s having an off day. We have completely different locations the place we stand and shoot and there’s a bond there, which is nice. We simply move round altogether. We often share flats, or a minimum of stay in the same areas.

On how much she spends: 
My expenses shoot the fuck off during Fashion Week, however I do this on purpose. I navigate this area in a method that I know is most useful to me. During Fashion Week, I give myself an honest sum of money so that I know that I could be grabbing what I want after I want it and I’m not careworn about spending. In recent years, it’s become more of a precedence to ensure that I’m sleeping somewhere that’s comfortable for me. That comes as you work longer and also you begin to get more consistent work and also you get better at what you do and also you get higher at understanding charges. I can handle it, however it’s costly as hell. I was shocked taking a look at prices in New York this time. I usually maintain a finances of my bills per trend week and I just refer back to calculate how a lot I should be spending, and it was double the cash this year. I virtually needed to send an e-mail and be like, “I don’t think I could make it” and then I discovered a good friend from South Africa who is going there, and I’m renting a second room from him.

On consuming out: 
On the primary day in a brand new place, I go to the store and get chocolate and a lot of chips. I fool myself into shopping for some wholesome snacks that I may also probably snack on however won’t end. But I’m mostly eating out. I typically take my laptop computer out to dinner with me, which I fairly take pleasure in. We additionally go for group dinners most nights, and we have constant places where we eat out.

On packing:
I’m mostly selecting outfits out of a suitcase, so I pack for a couple of months and I go around with those same two bags. It’s not minimal at all, but there is a checklist. I want a pair of fancy pants, very loose-fitting athletic pants, a pair of white pants as a end result of I love to wear white, and a pair of cargo pants. I at all times pack shorts. For sneakers, it’s one pair of sandals, boots, running shoes, and walking sneakers. There are plenty of little tops and vests. I religiously wear the L.A.-based brand Online Ceramics, and so they do a ton of printed tops. On the day, it’s based on how snug I could be to work in these clothes. I sort of alternate between, Do I wish to look good and type of sleek today? Do I wish to look edgy and funky today? Or do I want to appear to be a boy today?

On seeing the less glamorous side of things: 
It is really easy to see the experience a technique. While it’s so thrilling whenever you get access to a model like YSL, it may additionally be like, “the present was meant to start at 9 and it’s only beginning now at ten and I’ve been sitting on this podium for two hours and it is zero degrees and I can’t breathe. I don’t know that I’m that excited anymore.” But it’s a stability and everything’s a paradox. And it’s finest when you’re leaning into that yin and yang and having the flexibility to hold the thrill and knowing that excitement doesn’t take away from the frustration that may come with work. You’ve obtained to remember that the joy doesn’t compensate for the exhaustion.

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